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  1. Enforcing Trump's immigration plan will be harder than he thinks. By Nolan Rappaport


    Trump inherited a number of immigration enforcement problems from the Obama administration, the most serious of which was an immigration court backlog that has prevented him from using removal proceedings to reduce the size of the undocumented alien population.

    His solution seems to be to heed the advice of Mitt Romney, who said, when asked about reducing the population of undocumented aliens during a debate in 2012:

    The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here.

    But Trump is using harboring prosecutions to discourage people from helping undocumented aliens to remain here illegally in addition to enforcing employer sanctions to discourage employers from giving them jobs.

    Neither is likely to be successful.


    About the author. Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.

  2. Trump Moves Toward Dictatorship: Threatens to Ruin WP/Amazon Chief's Business, Prosecute Oakland Mayor, for Opposing Immigration Agenda. Roger Algase

    Update, May 20 at 10:15 am:

    A May 18 comment on the site by Cody Fenwick focuses on the dangerous abuse of power when a chief executive singles out a specific company for government retaliation because the president doesn't like being criticized. In an article entitled:

    Trump's Corrupt Abuse of Power on Display in New Report About His Efforts to Target Amazon

    Fenwick writes:

    "Personally directing a federal agency to raise prices on Amazon, therefore, looks like a blatant attempt to punish Bezoz and the
    Post for negative coverage. That would be a classic example of abuse of power.

    Even if Trump had good reasons for saying we should raise prices on Amazon, the mere appearance of the abuse of power could have a chilling effect on other people or organizations who may want to be critical of the president. In this way, Trump can accomplish his goal of stifling dissent without actually carrying out any retaliatory measures."

    Trump's attempt to order the US Postal Service to increase Amazon's rates because of the Washington Post's negative coverage of his administration's immigration agenda, among other issues, is also paralleled in his directing his attorney general, Jeff Sessions to look into bringing "obstruction of justice" charges against a California mayor who resisted Trump's mass deportation program aimed mainly at Latin American and other immigrants of color, as described in my original comment below.

    Sessions, who, evidently, has some respect left for the rule of law, ignored Trump's demand.

    These two incidents of attempts to use the enormous power of the federal government to punish specific individuals for opposing or criticizing Donald Trump's immigration and other policies are just the latest additions to the steadily mounting evidence showing that his presidency and this nation's democracy are on a collision course.

    My original comment appears below.

    When I was growing up, a U.S. president, who, coincidentally, shared the same first four letters of his last name with America's current president, famously wrote a letter threatening to punch a Washington Post music critic in the nose (among other places) because the critic had panned the singing performance of the president's daughter, Margaret Truman.

    But there is quite a big difference between a never carried out presidential threat to punch a newspaper music in the nose and an actual ongoing attempt by a president of the United States to use a major instrument of the government, in this case, the United States Post office, to destroy the multi-billion dollar business of a major newspaper publisher because of the latter's opposition to the president's policies, including among the most important targets of criticism, that president's immigration agenda.

    Yet this is exactly what Trump is attempting to do to Jeff Bezos, owner of both and the Washington Post, in retaliation for that newspaper's criticism of Trump's policies and performance as president, including, as a key element of that paper's opposition, Trump's assault on both legal and unauthorized immigration from mainly non-European, non-white parts of the world.

    And there is an even bigger difference between President Harry Truman's expression of outrage and a threat by Donald Trump to prosecute a local government official, in this case the mayor of Oakland, California, for resisting this president's mass deportation agenda.

    Trump's attempt to use the vast power of the federal government to destroy the business of the Washington Post's owner for criticizing Trump's administration, and his threat to prosecute Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, for refusing to fall in line with his ethnic cleansing deportation agenda directed against Latin American and other immigrants of color who are not from"countries like Norway" are not the actions of the leader of a democratic country that honors the rule of law. They are the actions of a dictator.

    It is not only Latin American, Muslim, African and other immigrants from outside white Europe who are the victims of Trump's attempt to impose his own racial prejudices and/or those of his right wing supporters on America through dismantling the programs and protections which have allowed millions of immigrants ranging from highly skilled H-1B workers to Diversity Visa lottery winners with only a high school education to come to the US legally in the past decades, and through spreading fear and terror in minority communities throughout America through his ethnic cleansing mass deportation agenda for non-criminal immigrants.

    The ultimate losers are the American people, whose almost 250 year-old experiment in democracy is now in danger of being wiped out.

    For the full story on Trump's attempts to bully the USPS into doubling the package delivery rates for Amazon in an obvious attempt at revenge against Bezos for the Washington Post's vocal opposition to Trump's anti-immigrant agenda and many other policies as president, see, Washington Post, May 18:

    Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, other firms

    (Available though Google - I do not have a direct link.)

    And for more details about Trump's threat to prosecute Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for "obstruction of justice" (a charge that Trump himself has been under investigation for the past year by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a non-immigration related context) for allegedly refusing to cooperate with an ICE raid as part of Trump's mass deportation agenda, see:

    To be sure, the United States has not yet reached the point where critics of the president suddenly disappear in the middle of the night to be locked up on orders from the top or, allegedly, die by poisoning, as in the case of Russia (whose purported role in helping Trump win the presidency is still very much part of the Mueller investigation which is obviously causing Trump so much Angst).

    But the above news items leave no doubt that America is moving toward that direction in the "Donald Trump Era" - one which now includes a new CIA director who has had great difficulty overcoming allegations of complicity in torture.

    In view of Trump's open advocacy of using torture against people he perceives as dangerous during his presidential campaign

    could Trump's appointment of Gina Haspel to this powerful and influential position be another, not so veiled, warning to media figures and politicians who might be thinking of speaking out against Trump's plans to purge America of non-white immigrants, about what might happen to anyone who opposes this agenda in the non-so distant future?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 05-20-2018 at 11:52 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Sessions Moves to Destroy Immigration Court Independence in Order to Rubber Stamp Trump's Mass Deportation Agenda. Roger Algase

    As further evidence that Trump's racially motivated immigration agenda of stopping people whom he calls "animals" (otherwise known as Latino or other non-white immigrants) from entering the United States, and expelling those who are already here as fast as possible (see my May 17 Immigration Daily comment) is taking America on the road to dictatorship, Trump's AG, Jeff Sessions, is quietly destroying the independence of the Immigration Court system and converting it into a rubber stamp for Trump's mass deportation agenda.

    Huffington Post reports that Sessions has used his wide authority over the immigration court system to take three important cases away from the Board of Immigration Appeals. In his first decision issued in these cases, he has sharply limited the power of Immigration Judges to close deportation cases administratively.

    This could speed up the removal of thousands of immigrants who may have valid legal claims to the right to stay in the US, such as through adjustment of status to permanent resident.

    In the words of Jeremy McKinney, national secretary of AILA, this could

    "...deport people who are trying to go through the immigration system the right way."

    Huffpost reports that Sessions has also taken two other important cases away from the BIA to decide on his own, something which attorney generals are allowed to do by law but which power other AG's have used only sparingly up to now. One of the cases could restrict the power of IJ''s to grant continuances, and the other could make asylum much mire difficult.

    As Trina Realmuto of the American Immigration Council states about Sessions:

    "As the attorney general, as the head of the department of justice, as the person who is certifying cases to himself, he needs to be neutral, impartial, and he needs to adjudicate without a political agenda."

    While America is not there yet, Sessions' moves to exert political control over the immigration court system, in violation of the most elementary concept of due process, are an ominous signal that this country could be taking at least the first steps down the road to using the court system as a mere instrument to carry out the will of a dictator, such as was done under the Nazi regime.

    As Russel K. Osgood writes a book review in 28 Cornell International Law Journal, 461, 462 (1995):

    In addition to the changes in substantive law, all aspects of German legal culture were made to conform to Nazi values."

    The above is not meant to imply that either Donald Trump or Jeff Sessions supports Nazi ideology, genocide or antisemitism in any way, shape or form. Clearly, they do not.

    But the history of what took place with the courts under the Nazi regime stands as a warning of what can happen to a country's judicial system, and its democracy, when the objective of removing or excluding large classes of people, in this case, Latino, Muslim, African and other non-white immigrants, takes precedence over judicial independence, constitutional rights, fundamental fairness and the rule of law.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 05-18-2018 at 09:46 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Trump's Latest "Animals" Attack on Latino Immigrants Shows Clear Racial "Animus". This Could Mean More Court Setbacks for his Agenda. Roger Algase

    Update, May 20, 9:26 pm:

    See also, Juan Escalante:

    It's not just rhetoric. Trump's policies treat immigrants like me as animals

    Update, May 19 at 2:56 pm:

    For anther comment on how Trump's dehumanizing "animals" attack endangers all immigrants, not just gang members, see The Atlantic:

    Update, May 17 at 1:26 pm:

    For a great comment on the inhumanity of both Trump's racial attacks on Latino and other non-white immigrants and the unspeakable cruelty of his border family separation agenda, see Republican columnist Jennifer Rubin's excellent column in the May 17 Washington Post:

    Republicans are blowing their cover on DACA

    (I do not have a working link to this article - please go to Google to access.)

    As Rubin puts it very succinctly, "America is sullied" by Trump's vilification and treatment of immigrants and by those who support this agenda.

    My original comment appears below:

    When the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals famously struck down Trump's Muslim Ban executive order last year on the grounds that it was motivated by unconstitutional "animus" against Muslim immigrants based on their religion, Trump's lawyers tried to defend his Islamophobic statements as mere campaign rhetoric which should be disregarded, now that he is the president, not just a candidate.

    This defense will certainly not be available if immigrant advocates try to use Trump's much more recent statements referring to mainly Latino immigrants as "animals", including what one news outlet, not without justification, called his latest "racist anti-immigrant rant" at a May 16 White House meeting.

    While Trump's defenders and opponents will no doubt spend a lot of time and ink arguing over whether Trump's latest attempt to emulate Adolf Hitler by demonizing and dehumanizing a targeted group of people was aimed only at MS-13 gang members. or at mainly Latino unauthorized immigrants in general (and what difference does it make? The Nazi editor of Der Sturmer, Julius Streicher, used to publish lists of Jewish "criminals" and was later executed for war crimes as a result), the federal courts are already looking into the question whether Trump's ongoing expressions of hatred against Latino and other non-white immigrants may be used to invalidate parts of his deportation agenda, not only his Muslim ban orders.

    POLITICO legal analyst Josh Gerstein reports that the issue of whether Trump's cancellation of DACA was motivated in part or in whole by prejudice against Latino immigrants is now being looked into by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Gerstein reports as follows:

    "Disparaging remarks that President Donald Trump made about Latinos and Mexicans surfaced Tuesday [May 15] at a key appeals court hearing on the Trump administration's bid to end the program protecting so-called Dreamers - immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

    As a three-judge 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel considered whether to lift an injunction ordering the government to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Program, Judge John Owens repeatedly raised the question of whether racial bias played a part in the decision to wind down DACA."

    Gerstein's report continues:

    "Owens formulated his questions in constitutional terms, asking about
    'equal protection' claims, but a lawyer for DACA recipients jumped at the chance to talk about Trump's inflammatory statements.

    'The president both before and after he took office referred to individuals from the very countries they're coming from as drug dealers, as druggies, as criminals, as bad individuals,' said Mark Rosenbaum of Public Counsel."

    This exchange took place the day before Trump's latest assertion (though by no means the first one) that at least some Latino immigrants were not even human beings. One can only wonder how this latest expression of "animus" toward non-white immigrants will play out in the course of a pending ACLU lawsuit against Trump's brutal, if not openly sadistic, plan to separate immigrant children from their parents at the US border in order to "deter" unauthorized entry, or in other lawsuits which may very likely be filed in the future against other parts of Trump's agenda of limiting immigration to the US from non-white parts of the world and expelling millions of non-white immigrants from the US.

    For a report on the ACLU lawsuit, see:

    One point is beyond dispute, however. If one wants to use the term "inhuman" in the immigration context, that term is not appropriate to use about people from any country who may wish to come to or remain in the United States, no matter how much Donald Trump may be bothered by their ancestry, race or religion.

    The word "inhuman" applies much more readily to Trump's mass deportation and exclusion agenda in general - whether against Latino mothers seeking asylum for themselves and their children, Muslim refugees trying to escape war and persecution in the Middle East, or African and Haitian immigrants whom Trump wants to keep out of the United States because their skin color is not as light as that of people in "Countries like Norway."

    To summarize, Trump's "animals" comment about Latino immigrants leaves him open to the possibility of more federal court findings of animus against non-white immigrants which could, conceivably, jeopardize much of his inhuman anti-immigrant agenda.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work visas ad green cards for more than 30 years.

    Roger believes that immigration law must be looked at, first and foremost, from the perspective of racial justice and human rights. His email address is

    Updated 05-20-2018 at 08:30 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Sessions' Plan to Separate Immigrant Children May Amount to Torture; While "Harboring" Prosecutions Could Create U.S. Police State. Roger Algase

    The following comment has been updated and slightly revised as of May 16 at 8:55 pm.

    Two UCLA professors, Jaana Juvonen and Jennifer Silvers, argue convincingly in a May 15 Washington Post article that the Trump administration's announced policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US border not only amounts to cruelty but actually violates US laws against engaging in torture. See:

    Separating children from parents at the border isn't just cruel. It's torture

    (I do not have a direct link to this article, but it can be accessed easily through Google.)

    My original comment appears below.

    The Washington Post reports on May 15 that the Trump administration is now reportedly to be looking at the option of housing children who are separated from their asylum-seeking parents at the border at military bases, instead of HHS foster care, in order to put further pressure on their parents to seek to enter the United States. For a link to the Post's story, see:

    The paper quotes AG Jeff Sessions as offering the following advice to immigrant parents whose young children would be at risk of being traumatized or psychologically damaged for life by being held under harsh military conditions, hundreds or more than a thousand miles away from their parents, because of the latter's "crime" in seeking to escape from gang violence and other dangerous conditions in Central American countries with some of the highest homicide rates in the world:

    "if you don't want your child separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally."

    One can almost see the smirk of the tormentor reveling in the pain inflicted on these families, if not on the face of Sessions himself, then on the face of his boss, the same president who nominated Gina Haspel, who is now trying desperately to live down or explain away allegations of previous involvement with torture, to be the new CIA director.

    In the meantime, the threat that American citizens who offer any kind of help or assistance to unauthorized immigrants, which at least in theory could include medical treatment, legal advice, religious counseling or shelter, or just first amendment advocacy, could face prosecution under an extremely broad federal criminal statute against "harboring" immigrants which, as will be shown in my future comments on this topic, arguably has its origin in the infamous Fugitive Slave Act pf 1850, before the Civil War.

    While the "Harboring" statute (8 U.S.C. Section 1324) arguably was meant to deal with the practice of smuggling immigrants into the United States, it in fact has a much broader reach. A recent DOJ memo contemplating prosecutions under this statute does not by any means limit its possible use to smuggling related cases.

    The National Immigration Forum comments as follows:

    "However, neither the [DOJ] memorandum nor the language of Section 1324 makes an exception for those who interact with undocumented individuals while carrying out a public service or a religious function...Absent clarification by DOJ, the DOJ memorandum suggests that community and faith organizations - including churches and religious ministries - could potentially face criminal prosecution for 'transporting' small groups of undocumented individuals in church-owned vans or buses or 'harboring' them by providing basic services or assistance."

    While the law is far from clear in this area and federal court decisions on this statute are in conflict with each other, the very vagueness of both the statute and the DOJ memo cited in the above article only adds to the fear among US citizens and LPR's of having any kind of contact with someone who "looks" or "sounds" foreign and who, for all that anyone knows, might turn out to be an "alien" who lacks authorization to be in the United States.

    This is the recipe for an American police state in which the prisons (probably private ones - so that some of Trump's biggest campaign donors will not go without their reward!) fill up with American citizens and permanent residents who might have even the most innocent contacts with Latino, Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Caribbean individuals who lack the proper documents - all in the name of "immigration enforcement".

    And while the threat of being prosecuted and possibly even subjected to long prison sentences as a "deterrent" for harboring or "assisting" unauthorized immigrants in remaining in the United States may not be as severe as the Nazi punishment of execution for protecting Jews during the Holocaust, the comparison is not completely inappropriate. See:

    The above comment does not mean to suggest in any way that Donald Trump or anyone in his administration is anti-Jewish or supports genocide. Nothing could possibly be further from the truth.
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work permits and green cards for more than 30 years.

    Roger believes that immigration law must be looked at, first and foremost, from the perspective of racial justice and human rights. His email address is

    Updated 05-17-2018 at 01:02 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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